The past that isn’t even past – and the present of Paul Minor

Attorneys for Paul Minor  filed an emergency release motion with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday seeking his immediate release while the court deliberates his appeal.

It is the last chance Minor will get to see his wife before her imminent death.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., reported the story on the Huffington Post and, to some, he has become the story.

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Federal troops on patrol in Oxford, Mississippi 1962 "The Ghosts of Mississippi" (Wright Thompson, CNN)

Outraged by his suggestion Minor has committed no crime other than being the number one donor to Democratic candidates in Mississippi, you’d think he was the Kennedy enrolling Meredith in Ole Miss. Faulkner was right, The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past

Kennedy has been a code word in Mississippi since at least 1962 – one that triggers an anti-movement for whatever a Kennedy says, does, or supports that relates to Mississippi.

Perhaps, Mississippi is a code word to a Kennedy.  Clarksdale native Wright Thompson told the story of the Mississippi of Kennedy’s father in recent CNN publication – the Mississippi in this picture.  It was also the Mississippi  Minor learned from his father – a Mississippi of injustice passed on to his son as just-us justice.

Thompson also told of the Mississippi he learned from his father:

When I was 5 or 6, because of my dad’s political activism in the Mississippi Delta, local white supremacists burned a cross in our front yard. My parents had a decision to make: Wake me up or let me sleep. They chose sleep. On that night, hate and fear would not be passed to another generation.

What is the Mississippi we are teaching our children? One where no man is above the law but some are below it?

Paul Minor, by all accounts, was an alcoholic in need of treatment.  Regardless of the final disposition of his case, we can not deny selective prosecution while practicing selective disgrace.

Letting go is not something we do for others.  We let go so we can be free of burdens – free from how others see us, free from hate and fear, free to become the just and compassionate people we believe ourselves to be and want our children to become.

9 thoughts on “The past that isn’t even past – and the present of Paul Minor”

  1. I really don’t think people who follow this story from the right understand how easy it is for the federal government to lock you up and put you in jail. The laws designed to lock up drug barrons and terrorist can be used to lock up right wing bloggers for example who tick off the wrong person in DC. Then the light bulb would go on and guess what, it might be too late. These politically motivated arrest were fine and dandy when they were all against democratic leaders. Now that the dem’s are in power I wonder if our right wing will look at these matters differently. No not for Minor but for their leadership.

  2. I see the political issues, Steve, but I’m looking at a “big picture” that indicates Minor had an alcohol problem. When his behavior is broken down into specific acts, that “big picture” was lost and the focus on specific behaviors became legal.

  3. Paul Minor was a dear friend of my father’s, and I’m ashamed I haven’t written him a letter. So I will post this here instead. He was always a generous, kind man to my family, and a wonderful friend.

  4. nowdoucit, i’m curious what you mean by the “big picture” being Paul Minor’s (admitted) alcohol problem. To me, the big picture here is that the Republicans – while in power – abused the law by selectively prosecuting key Democratic figures (Minor, Siegelman, Cyril Wecht, etc etc). As Steve points out in his comment, the tables could easily turn on them with the Dems now in power, which brings us to the true “big picture” – our Justice Dept is broken, and thank god, Eric Holder appears to be taking steps to fix it. That process will take time of course.

    nowdoucit, i’m also curious why you keep bringing up Paul’s alcohol problem, since he has been sober for years now and never harmed anyone when he wasn’t. Are you a Christian? Do you have the power to forgive?

    He deserves to be free now, not because his wife is dying, but because that’s what the law states – if you can raise substantial questions in your appeal, you deserve bail. That’s true throughout the court system. But apparently not when you’ve been targeted by Rove’s minions and convicted on charges that weren’t proven in court by a jury that didn’t get clear instructions that it needed proof of a bribe to lock him up for 11 years, which they didn’t have… tell me, is that “Justice” to you? Or “Just-Us”?

  5. Nowdy will be back to address your questions directly. I think the use of Mr Minor’s disease against him is what landed him in the pokey rather than an actual crime – and I think that is what Nowdy meant by her statements but I’ll let her speak for herself when she is back in front of a computer.

    Seems to me our judges are supposed to safegaurd against abuses too. After the first trial ended in a mistrial Judge Wingate changed the instructions the second time and lowered the bar. This is why (on the surface) oral arguments went well at the 5th Circuit. IMHO

    Finally like so many others it was not the crime but the coverup that made this possible. That doesn’t equate to bribery but it sure looked damn bad to the public.

    When Justice is working even flawed characters like Teal, Minor and Whitfield can get a fair shake. Just-Us changes the rules when it suits a purpose, kind of like when Wingate changed those jury instructions.

    sop

  6. nowdoucit, I was referring to the fact that Minor has successfully completed alcohol rehab and has been sober for nearly three years. You say “Paul Minor was an alcoholic in need of treatment.” Well, he got that treatment, so why do you bring it up now, again? Forgive.

    And I think you still miss the larger picture here, which has nothing to do with Minor’s drinking, or the fact that he’s no saint like the rest of them aren’t, they aren’t perfect… but the loan guarantees and contributions were legal under Mississippi law and widely practiced by Republicans and Democrats alike. He was singled out for prosecution because of his support for Democratic candidates, particularly John Edwards. If you watch the documentary “Project Save Justice,” you will see the “big picture” which I’m talking about. THAT is the “Just Us” system of Karl Rove and the Bush DOJ. Watch it here (it’s three parts): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL8IBcNU34Q

    Minor should be free now, and he should not have been prosecuted at all – remember the first jury found no bribery and hung on the other charges. Any alleged ethical violations against him should’ve been dealt with by the Mississippi Bar Association, not the federal court system. Justice was not served in his case, but “Just Us” was… his conviction had a chilling effect on MS trial lawyer contributions to Democrats, that was Rove’s goal. He accomplished it, and Paul’s wife lost the last three years of her life with him because of it.

    His 11 year sentence was draconian. He deserves a fresh look at his case by the Obama DOJ. Do you not agree? I can’t tell by what you’ve written above, it’s confusingly stated. I was seeking clarification, that’s all.

  7. Gos Hawks, they tossed him in the Madison County Jail and refused his request for treatment. I don’t want anyone to forget our government allowed that to happen – or that we are all accountable for allowing that to happen to any man regardless of his wealth or political affiliation.

    The question, Gos Hawks, is could I forgive myself if I didn’t point out the injustice of the government’s response to his illness?

    Do we not all need to be forgiven for letting that happen?

    Does forgiveness not require going further and repenting?

    Can we repent if we continue to think of building prisons as economic development / jobs creation programs and ignore the need to invest in appropriate treatment facilities?

    Is there not a need to ask Paul for forgiveness?

    The “big picture” here goes far beyond any one injustice – or any one man.

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